Posted on July 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton Said “Systemic Racism” in Tonight’s Speech. That’s Major.

Victoria M. Massie, VOX, July 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech on Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention marked two watershed moments. Of course she became the first woman to formally accept the presidential nomination of a major party.

But she also became the first presidential candidate of the two major parties to use the term “systemic racism” in her nomination speech:

I refuse to believe we can’t find common ground here. We have to heal the divides in our country. Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more.

That starts with listening to each other. Hearing each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other’s shoes.

So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.


Though Obama (and other presidential candidates) has addressed racial divides in his speeches, the term “systemic racism,” embraced in particular by younger activists, was not present in his addresses. The phrase refers to the deep-seated racial inequalities that plague major institutions.